Sunday, February 23, 2020

Brief Foray Into US-American Politics

So, I'm sorta semi-blogging. (More than I was a year ago anyway.) And, being Canadian, I should be (and have been) posting about the waves of vile, self-pitying, hypocritical and murderous racism, that emerge from not too far beneath the surface of our collective psyche whenever people from the First Nations oppose anything that we want to impose on them. (Obviously, there's vicious, day-to-day racism going on in Canada, but it's things such as the Wet'suwet'en blockade or "Idle No More" or Chief Theresa Spence's hunger-strike, that gets Canadian fingers flying over keyboards about how we need to shoot Natives enmasse; or run them over with trains; or how their protests are "terrorism" and etc.)

But since my blogging doesn't influence things one way or the other, and, since the USA remains the most powerful, influential country in the world (with our sharing a border and many cultural commonalities with it), I think that Bernie Sanders' big primary win in Nevada is something I should comment upon.

Bernie should have won in 2016. He was robbed by a criminal psychopath who voted for the Invasion of Iraq (among other atrocities). He was robbed of primary victories in a process rigged by Hillary Clinton's stooges throughout the national Democratic Party apparatus. It was Hillary Clinton's insane level of entitlement that gave us Trump. Her and all of her disgusting, witless, amoral followers should retire permanently from the limelight and let us normal people try to repair the damage that they've caused.

I make up these posts as I go along. Because this is a hobby and I have stuff that needs doing. So nothing has been composed. And now I have so many observations coming to mind that it's overwhelming. Let me try to stick to three:

First of all, Bernie Sanders' victories are coming from the reality that more and more US-Americans are being completely abused by an inhuman, corrupt system. That reality was already evident to people like me in 2015 and it was why Sanders tried to convince Elizabeth Warren to run against Clinton for the Democratic nomination. Because eight years of Obama had produced very little in substantive change from eight years of Dubya, and eight years of William Jefferson Clinton, and four years of Bush Sr., and eight years of Reagan.

During those 35 years, unions have been decimated. This contributed to the hollowing-out of the middle income classes. Employment for more and more people became tenuous and wages stagnated or declined. As well, in the US of A, when health insurance is often tied to employment, the decline of unions and steady work in general led to more people being denied health care.

During this same period, perceptible progress of African Americans in the post-war period halted and was reversed. De-industrialization hurt Blacks first and growing economic insecurity led to more stupid people looking for scapegoats and more racist politicians encouraging that process. Bill and Hillary Clinton's drivel about "three strikes" and "super-predators" was just the tolerant, liberal version of this.

For US-Latinos, it was worsening conditions in Mexico, Central America and South America, that led to migration to the USA, which, again, increased racist fears and provided a platform for opportunist, racist politicians. Both Democrats and Republicans engaged in this behaviour. Both Clintons spoke of building barriers against illegals and Obama was the "Deporter-in-Chief" who tear-gassed migrants at the southern border.

Endless war and increased economic inequality was the legacy of this bipartisan effort. And Bernie Sanders sensed the frustration and when Elizabeth Warren declined to run, he ran against Queen Hillary himself. To the consternation of the Clinton-owned Democratic National Committee, Sanders turned out to be hugely popular, attracting stadium-sized crowds, while the arrogant, elitist, entitled, bitter ex-nerd Hillary Clinton found it difficult to fill high school gymnasiums for her rallies.

She cheated. She won. And then, to show just how much contempt she had for those people who had filled stadiums for Bernie, she selected a right-wing, anti-choice, corporate stooge nobody as her VP. And, make no mistake about it: the Hillary wing of the Democratic Party WAS FINE with telling those potential voters to go fuck themselves.

Senator Chuck Schumer said openly that for every blue-collar voter they'd lose, they'd pick up two moderate Republicans.

"We don't need you. Take your frustration and your outrage and go pound sand."

So, quite a few of those discarded voters stayed home. Enough to let Trump eke-out an Electoral College victory. And thereby bring ranting, spittle-flecked maniacs like Montreal Simon's supervisor "Jackie Blue" to enraged tirades about "purity ponies" and other garbage.

Of course, an entitled shit-head like Hillary Clinton can't accept the blame for her own failure. It all became the fault of the stupid voters who took her advice and stayed home. And they did THAT because their minds had been warped by Kremlin memes and a Trump-Putin-Wikileaks conspiracy to expose the Clinton-DNC financial fraud and political manipulation of the primaries, as well as speeches that Clinton gave to Wall Street criminals about how she'd tell the American people one thing while doing other things to serve her bankster audience.

Whereupon "moderates" and "centrists" and "liberals" and etc., let their brains turn to shit and they spent four years going after Trump for imaginary crimes (when his real crimes would have obviously been better targets) with the culmination being a Quixotic impeachment process over (of all things) Trump using illegal means to dig-up dirt on DNC presidential candidate Joseph Biden's libertine son Hunter.

Obviously it is an impeachable offense for a president to use public resources to pressure anyone for assistance against his political rivals. And, obviously, the Republican Party demonstrated total contempt for their sworn duties by refusing to call witnesses to testify on this illegal behaviour. But, after years of Russia-gate, normal people are sick unto death of this drivel. To use impeachment to defend Joe Biden and his corrupt son, ... it was hard to get excited about it. Besides, Barack Obama's "kill-lists" of US-American citizens to be murdered via predator drones was also an impeachable offense, no? Or bush II's deliberate use of torture?

Some centrist Democratic psychopaths are honest devotees of right-wing Amy Klobuchar. I suspect they see her as someone with a track record of straddling right-wing Democrats and moderate Republicans, in order to get very little done for ordinary people (those being the sorts of people who would find $125 prohibitive when it came to seeing the family doctor). Klobuchar supporters don't care, or simply don't notice the 50% of the population (mostly poor) who don't vote.

Peter Buttigieg is a scumbag.

Joe Biden is the senile leftovers of a lifetime of corruption and entitlement.

Elizabeth Warren has a good mind, a strong sense of social justice, both overwhelmed by an out-sized ambition. She showed herself too willing to play footsie with corruption, and, then, to cynically weaponize feminism to sabotage Bernie Sanders.

Tulsi Gabbard remains in the race to speak for people opposed to the "forever wars" of the Military-Industrial-Complex.

Mike Bloomberg just found out how toxic and scuzzy he is to normal people, unimpressed by his billions and not dependent upon him for employment.

It's pretty clear that Bernie Sanders will win at least a plurality of the delegates needed to win the Democratic nomination. But if he doesn't win a clear majority and the party insiders either try to steal it from him (perhaps arguing about "proportional representation") or foist a right-wing platform and VP candidate on him, ... they should realize that decent, sane, normal people have had more than enough of their bullshit. Psychopathic, ranting dullards like "Jackie Blue" need to be put on notice that they're playing with fire. And the "purity ponies" will burn the Democratic Party to the ground if corporatist vermin goad them into it.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

So Much Is Wrong With The World

This country breaks my heart. The Wet’suwet’en are trying to defend their lands and half the country are being assholes about it. Literally talking pieces of shit like Andy Scheer and Jason ("perverted altarboy") Kenney are stinking up the room with their racist conspiracy theories. Justin Trudeau and the gang are pretending that there's nothing they can do, while pretending that they're NOT doing the same old colonialism they've always done. The BC NDP are sucking whatever rancid genitalia (mostly dick, considering the composition of the ruling class's executives) that capitalism is shoving in their faces.

Listen people; we've gone over 125 years without needing this pipeline. It ain't our land. (I just remembered some shit-head on Fazebuck somewhere claiming that British Columbia already owned all the land before Confederation. If there was anything to that, it should have been brought before the Supreme Court before they wrote the Delgamuukw Decision.) And fracking is expensive and ecologically unsound.  (They're fracking beside a hydro-electric dam fer chrissakes!) And on top of all that, fracking is only going to accelerate global warming. And on top of THAT fracking is uneconomic.

So, once again, I find myself assuredly on the side of the First Nations, and the RULE OF LAW, ... against simpering corporatist shit-heads and irredeemable racists.

And another thing that grinds my gears: Who, at this stage of the game, can still believe that the USA is "a force for good in the world"????

I actually got the appeal of the whole World War II/Cold War thing. I'm not saying it was ironclad, but there was a compelling narrative there. But the needless slaughter, hypocrisy and stupidity and villainy of the US War on Vietnam really took the wind out of its sails. After that, if you were paying attention, US-American depredations in Nicaragua, El Salvador, Chile, Angola, Haiti, and Australia (and elsewhere) just confirmed things for you. But most people DON'T pay attention. And those atrocities were small enough to hide without too much trouble.

But Jeeziz Kee-Rice-ST!!! They've been in Afghanistan for almost TWENTY FUCKING YEARS!!!! Not only is that country NOT a thriving democracy, ... it remains a war-torn basket-case!! Listen people: It's actually not all that hard to make a poor country work. The people have VERY LOW expectations.

Look what those monsters (including the divine vagina of Hillary Clinton ... or is it Hillary's gender that was supposed to make that grifter/war criminal a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity?) have done to Iraq! And Libya! And Syria! And Honduras! Bolivia! And their own fucking country!!!

Get a ticket for the "Clue Train" people! The same politicians who want to deny you healthcare (whether it's some scum-bag like Donald Trump, Pete Buttigieg, or Doug-"please die soon"-Ford), OBVIOUSLY can't be wantin' to do good things for people in other countries.

And what's up with the level of shit-headerry needed to vote for a puke like Doug Fraudord anyway?? This is that garbage culture I've been talking about lately. It's what I'm talking about NOW!! Fucking Ford! Fucking Kenney! Scum. Elected by ignoramuses and total morons.

Friday, February 14, 2020

The Cursed NDP & Canada's Garbage Culture

Back here I made the mistake of thinking that the pipeline that the Wet’suwet’en were trying to stop was a bitumen pipleine from Alberta. And that was only because I'm such a starry-eyed idealist that I didn't want to believe that Canada was trying to impose TWO unwanted pipelines on these people. (It's also proof of what I've been saying for a long time: That I tend to ignore the news, what with the mainstream media being deceitful and with my ability to influence things being nil.)

A result of my ignorance was that I didn't properly indict the BC NDP for their major role in this atrocity. [Although I did say the following in that earlier post: "Coming in Third Place is the shit-head NDP that (as an institution) attempts to pander to the supporters of the other two parties by replicating as much of their stupid policies as its own membership can stomach"]

Still, that wasn't direct enough criticism. And so I draw your attention to this fine summary of the conflict: "Time to Tear off the Masks in the Media's Framing of the Horgan Pipeline Debacle" by Stuart Parker. He rightly lambastes the private sector actors, and the federal Liberals, but he also indicts the BC NDP especially the Solicitor-General Michael Farnworth.

I was going to quote a paragraph or two but the whole thing is intertwined with stuff about environmental policies and the enforcement of injunctions that I will simply advise you to read the whole essay.

My main point is that the NDP shows itself just as much a symptom of Canada's garbage culture as the Liberals and the Conservatives. (The Greens don't look too good either according to Parker.)

Speaking of garbage, Montreal Simon worries that the protests by First Nations and their allies might "kill the Reconciliation Project"!!!!

Yes. You read that right. Protesting against a militarized RCMP assault on the Wet’suwet’en might endanger their becoming reconciled with us. (Obviously the inconveniences caused by these protests will cement racist, hypocritical, whining shit-heads' decision to remain unreconciled with the First Nations.) At one point in his simpering nonsense, Simon calls the protesters "louts and bullies" for blocking blood-soaked, anti-democratic, international abomination Crystia Freeland from attending a meeting.

Later on, in the comments section, Simon's supervisor, the detestable "Jackie Blue" babbles about Justin Trudeau: "There's only so much one man can do. He can't undo 500 years in 5."

You're right Jackie. Justin Trudeau can't undo 500 years of colonialism in 5 years. Especially when his policies are deliberately perpetuating that colonialism. You idiot.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Books I'm Reading These Days

All sorts of things going on in Canada and the world right now but I think I'll blog about my latest readings.

First of all, I read Vassily Grossman's Everything Flows.

I'm a big fan of Grossman. He was born into a secular Russian Jewish family in the1905. He was first a chemist and then began a career as a novelist and short-story writer in the 1930s. He volunteered for the Red Army after the German invasion of the Soviet Union and was given a job as a war correspondent for the Red Star army newspaper where he covered everything from the army's near-collapse to the battles of Staingrad, Kursk and the fall of Berlin.  I've read Life & Fate (the second part of his World War II epic) and A Writer at War (a collection of his wartime writings edited by Antony Beevor and Luba Vinogradova). [Part one to Life & Fate was originally released as For a Just Cause and was criticized for its clunky Stalinist realism. Apparently there's a new translation based on suppressed writings now entitled Stalingrad which is better that I plan to read.]

Everything Flows was Grossman's last novel, finished four years before his death by stomach cancer in 1960, and it was never allowed to be published in the Soviet Union. Soviet authorities attempted to confiscate all the copies of his manuscript but it was smuggled out of the country and published in the West in 1980. Its main focus is on the thoughts and experiences of a man released from thirty years in the labour camps. It also contains a chapter on the sorts of people who denounce others and send them to the camps. There's a chapter about the inherent authoritarianism of both Lenin and Stalin and Russia's enslaved soul. A woman who befriends the main character gives him a first-hand account of Stalin's terror famine in the Ukraine. One chapter goes to a heartbreaking account of a woman sentenced to the labour camps for not having denounced her husband and how her small hopes of returning to her family are slowly killed within her.

In this work, as in Life & Fate, Grossman describes a society wherein people were afraid to speak freely. How even among colleagues or friends, one had to constantly monitor oneself. It's odd that nowadays, through surveillance technology we're all being spied upon, only our watchers don't really care what we think or say. They only need to move if we start to organize. There's a real cultural strength in our myths that Stalinism didn't have. But, we see it's starting to break down in France and in the USA.

Anyway, good book.

Next up is Detroit '67: the year that changed Soul by Stuart Cosgrove.

The book describes the social-economic-cultural milieu that produced Berry Gordy's MoTown Records and the tensions and struggles within the company in the year 1967 in half the book, while the other half deals with the wider conflicts going on inside Detroit itself which led to the five days of rioting in late-July. Cosgrove is a good writer who has a good eye for what was important for an understanding of this bit of history.

Finally, there's From Treaty Peoples to Treaty Nation: A Road Map for All Canadians, by Greg Poelzer and Ken S. Coates.

I can't say that I like it. Reading it I'm reminded of how Canadian academics (and many opinion writers) have this way of writing that uses dullness to obfuscate their nasty biases. They know that what they want to say is offensive so they drain their language of as much bile as they can and decorate what remains with soulless words meant to convey a patina of benevolence. (I'm tired and that's as hard as I'm going to try with that.)

Poelzer and Coates are still, nonetheless, pretty blatant in their biases. In surveys of the thoughts of Indigenous and non-Indigenous thinkers on First Nations issues, they use the word "radical" as a term of derision. Whether or not an argument for First Nations sovereignty is valid or not is of secondary importance to whether or not it is popular with the majority population in Canada. It's also quite evident when they're summarizing a writer or policy-maker who they're sympathetic to.

Here's a couple of examples of what I mean: On page 129, the first page of Chapter 6, they want to deliberately steer away from stories of First Nations sufferings to stories of positive achievement. I've no problem with that. But it takes a certain amount of hubris to do that the way they ended up doing it:
It is easy to get depressed about Aboriginal conditions in Canada. Scarcely a day passes without another sensational headline. If the story is not about impoverished conditions on a reserve then it is documenting urban violence, a child welfare crisis, or an Aboriginal protest.  Politicians routinely highlight the statistics of despair, and First Nations leaders, struggling to get the nation's attention, speak openly of endemic drug and alcohol abuse and decry the overrepresentation of Aboriginal people in the prison system. And on it goes, [!] from a glue-sniffing epidemic at Davis Inlet to filthy water at Kashechewan, from corruption in Aboriginal organizations to the difficulties attracting teachers to isolated northern reserves, from unemployment rates above 90 percent on some reserves to bitter battles over child apprehensions and Aboriginal control over social welfare, from multimillion-dollar legal bills for fighting the government to gut-wrenching descriptions of the evil acts of pedophiles in residential schools. 
Again, I understand that Poelzer and Coates are going to be writing about how their are signs of First Nations resilience and achievement and how it isn't just a litany of suffering. But in presenting that list of tribulations the way that they do, instead of conveying that they're well aware of the nature and extent of the problems faced by First Nations people, they instead demonstrate that they have no clear conception of their significance. Furthermore, they seem at a loss as to the source of all or almost all of these problems, which is in the policies of the settler society.

Another instance of their bias comes in their brief summary of Chief Shawn Atleo's struggle to win acceptance of the 2014 First Nations Education Act. Like many mainstream academics. Poelzer and Coates have bought into the narrative of nation-states being irrelevant in the new world of globalized capital. (Increasingly, what with the massive military budgets, surveillance budgets, bail-outs and other supports of the "titans" of finance, this irrelevance is shown to be a myth. A myth to convince people that they can expect nothing from the states to which their incomes are taxed to support.)

The writers employ this myth to disparage the First Nations struggles for sovereignty, and recognition of their Treaty rights, and to shift the focus to "practical" reforms to make things better in the here and now. Atleo's work on behalf of the stephen harper government's First Nations Education Act is framed as that of a practical man, wanting to compromise and achieve real benefits for his people, being frustrated by unreconstructed firebrands: "In fact, opposition to his support for the government was so strong that Atleo felt compelled to resign his office. His successor, Chief Perry Bellegarde of Saskatchewan, ... favours a rights-based approach to government relations. The desire to fight with the government lives on."

Have no fear though, gentle readers, because (the paragraph continues): "Many Aboriginal people, however, are getting on with business."

The writers had earlier shown nothing but praise for stephen harper's empty words of apology for the residential schools tragedy. ("Talk is cheap" adequately explains why harper felt motivated to make that "historic" apology.) I went to find out more about this Education Act. This CBC story makes it sound as if its failure was merely due to a clash of personalities (similar to Poeler and Coates making it about First Nations "radicals" who would rather fight over empty words like "sovereignty" than achieve lasting benefits for their grassroots). One has to go to less mainstream sources to get the real story. The First Nations Education Act was about micro-managing First Nations schools in exchange for more and steadier financial funding. It was tabled without having given First Nations peoples a chance to look at it and propose changes or amendments.

I suppose I'll finish the book. There is some valuable information and it's always good to know what the enemy is thinking.